tv The Rachel Maddow Show MSNBC March 1, 2014 3:00am-4:01am PST
there's not one way to do something. no details too small. american express open forum. this is what membership is. this is what membership does. our lead story tonight is an exclusive. you will not hear this story anywhere else. to get this story this week, we sent producers from the show basically to the end of the world. technically we just sent them to the end of the country. we sent them to the rio grande valley, the tippy toe of texas. it is so far south, it's south of mexico. if you want to get to chihuahua or tijuana in mexico, you go north from the rio grande valley in texas. it a really big place. you now how people say -- the state of texas is the size of france? rio grande grand valley is the size of connecticut.
it's a huge, huge place. when you are there, you are removed from the rest of the country, the rest of texas. you are not near anywhere else. the texas city of san antonio is 250 miles away from the rio grande valley, it's not an every day trip. it's remote. it is beautiful. it is very, very poor. the four counties that make it up are quite profoundly poor. the two biggest cities rank first and second for poorest in the nation. along with that remoteness and that poverty come health troubles, preventable, treatable diseases at rates that do not seem like they should happen in the united states. for example, women who live on the texas border are a third more likely to die of cervical cancer than women in other parts of this country. poverty has its own health risks and if far south texas those risks are compounded by being hard to access medical care there.
in the year 2011, texas republicans made that uphill fight even more uphill. they cut state funding for health clinics that serve women specifically. and they didn't just trim that funding. they basically got rid of it. they cut it by two-thirds. these were not cuts in abortion services. these were cuts in everything else, in preventive care and cancer screenings and birth control. the effect was immediate. dozens of family planning clinics closed right away. because so many women lost access to birth control, which people tend to get through clinics like that, because so many women lost access to birth control, the state of texas saw a rise of almost 30,000 unintended pregnancies over what they would have expected had those clinics been able to stay open. 30,000. texas is having an unplanned pregnancy baby boom, not because of the end of a war or something but because of the end of birth control. and not everybody who got pregnant without wanting to went ahead with the pregnancy.
the following year a university of texas study found nearly half the women who ended a pregnancy in texas that year, said they had been unable to get the contraception they wanted to use. texas republicans were so bent on not spending anything for family planning that even with the cuts that shut down those dozens of clinics, they held back even the little bit of state money that was left, they left more than $2 million sitting there in the account that used to pay for the services while dozens of clinics turned off the lights and women stopped getting cancer screenings and tens of thousands of women got pregnant went they didn't want to because they lost the contraception they could get through health clinics. what texas republicans did to health care for the women in that state was a policy debacle, on a national scale, just
embarrassing, even for texas. in 2013 texas republicans brought some of that funding back. for a lot of the clinics and a lot of the women, it was too late. in the rio grande valley, they lost nine clinics. one of four of them shut down. you can still see that damage today. this used to be in texas. this particular clinic belonged to planned parenthood. they used to hold open days, festivals in the parking lot. come by, we're in the neighborhood, get a check up, find out about birth control. it was a neighborhood place and texas cut the funding and their place closed. our producers were in brownsville, texas this week and they introduced us to paula, who works at that brownsville clinic, teaching women about birth control until budget cuts forced that clinic to shut down and lay off people like her.
but the amazing thing is that even though lawmakers effectively ended her job, she kept going on with her work. watch. >> there's a lot of places that talk about diabetes and the importance of eating healthy, exercising, but nobody wants to talk about reproductive health. i think that it's because it involves sex and nobody wants to talk about sex. i do know for a fact that a lot of them would go to the clinic, get their services, they were super happy but then when the cuts started happening, they panicked. they were worried where would they go now. before we had an option of going into mexico to get birth control and things like that but right now with the insecurity and things like that, there's no way we can go. >> you mean the violence? >> with the violence and stuff, yeah. after the cuts and after i was
laid off in 2011, i just loved the impact the information would have on women and i would like to see how they react when they learned about their bodies and anatomy that i would continue doing it, even if i wasn't getting paid. >> pretty much every day now, paula and her volunteers are not being paid, this is not a job, but every day, they are holding community meetings in and around brownsville where they are holding meetings where they teach women about birth control and how to take care of themselves. the women are there, they are singing, playing bingo and getting informing about family planning. information that used to be available to them at the local clinic. they learn how to take care of themselves and each other, but they also learn how to watch out for their political interests.
>> we find this hard-to-reach women, women that would normally not even stick their nose out the window. we knock on their door and i seen the transformation on how we start giving her a pep talk. we tell her you know, you're an advocate because you advocate for your family every day and then we start softly talking about leadership skills, we empower her, we organize her and by the time you know it, she's out there talking to political leaders, asking for change. >> so it starts out being about health care and understanding your health care needs and making your own decisions about your health and whether or not you get pregnant and what happens if you do get pregnant. but getting information about those things and taking control of those decisions for yourself isn't just a health outcome. it's about power, right? it's about agency. sticking up for yourself and not getting pushed around or getting taken advantage of. speaking for yourself. the fact of these women as a political force may not yet be
apparent in the texas state capital but block by block, person by person, they really are building their part of the new texas. hand to hand right there on the backyard patios of brownsville. that is not all the news from the rio grande valley. we also have some news to break here tonight. if you look at the map again, you can see brownsville, right on the border, hard on the border with mexico. half an hour north is the city of harrlingon, texas is one of the few places where you can get an abortion. that clinic is run by a guy who you don't want to push around. he's a don't mess with me doctor. he gets so many death threats because of his work that he carries a pistol and wear as bullet proof vest. they are part of his daily routine for getting dressed for work. in 2011, texas republicans
passed a sweeping new law last year designed to close most of the abortion clinics in texas. when that happened, the doctor said the law was an insult to women's intelligence and said he would continue to perform abortions, whether that means under the cover of a mesquite tree, on a shrimp boat, he said i won't give this up, i am not going to abandon these girls. the first part of the new law requires any doctor who wants to provide an abortion in texas have to get admitting privileges at a hospital near to where they're going to be providing those abortions. texas hospitals not eager to hand out privileges, let alone those who do abortions so dr. minto has not been able to get the administratoring privileges. so he's not been able to perform abortions since november. instead, he has turned to
helping women who have tried to end their own pregnancies on their own without a doctor. they've been crossing the border to go to mexican pharmacies to buy drugs to self-induce their own abortions or buying the same drugs on the local grayish/black markets at flea markets. when they run into trouble because they have no doctor because they self-induced their own abortion, when they run into trouble, they go to see dr. minto. that has been his work since the new texas law went into effect in november that stopped him from providing abortions. instead of safely providing abortions, he has just been trying to save women who have been trying to do it to themselves. and now tonight we can tell you that he will not be doing even that anymore. we spoke to dr. minto this week and he told us that today, friday, february 28th, he has closed his clinic forever. he closed it today. he said he's never been a rich man and he cannot afford to keep going. he has put his building up for
sale, he's turned his last patients away. he told us, "it's heart breaking. it makes me want to cry. it's my life. ida whole lot rather be helping women but texas has made it impossible. i think it's so sad in texas how little respect we have for women." and just like that this already isolated and poor border region with really poor health outcomes, just like that they've lost one doctor, one more place for women to turn. not because women do not need or want the help but because the state of texas legislated that help off the list of possible choices. we'll have more reporting from texas and the rio grande valley next week. we have a story that's more amazing than this one we were able to tell tonight. it's an amazing story. we'll be right back. no, just had to stop by the house to grab a few things. you stopped by the house? uh-huh. yea. alright, whenever you get your stuff, run upstairs, get cleaned up for dinner. you leave the house in good shape?
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on monday, september 9th, just before 8:40 in the morning, there was a serious car accident at the intersection of brinkerhoff avenue in the town of ft. lee, new jersey. >> 911, what is your emergency? >> 911, big accident over here. >> where is over here? take a deep breath. >> brinkerhoff and what's the other street? >> ft. lee.
>> i can't hear you, tom. is somebody hurt? >> yeah. >> we'll get somebody right there. >> okay, right away. >> exactly one minute later, another witness to that same car accident calls 911 for help. >> 911, where is your emergency? >> yes, i'm calling to report an accident on brinker hoff -- >> and juanita? >> yes. >> people are injured? >> yes. >> we're en route. we'll be there shortly. thank you. >> people are injured? yes. okay, we'll be there shortly. here's what we know happened after those 911 calls on the morning of monday, september 9th.
we know it was not two but actually four people who were taken to the hospital as a result of that car accident. we know that it took emergency responders more than twice as long to respond to that accident than it should have under their normal protocols. it took them nine minutes to get to the scene of the accidents. it should have taken them less than four minutes. we know why it took them so long to get to those injured people in that accident -- it was traffic. emergency responders were stuck in absolutely epic traffic. this is a letter from the head of emergency services in ft. lee to the mayor of that town. this letter is dated september 10th. it's the day after the ems coordinator was not able to get to the scene of that big car accident on time. in the letter the ems coordinator explains to the mayor of that town that because of the terrible traffic, he had to jump the curb and drive on the sidewalk in order to reach the injured people at the scene of that big car accident and still he could not get there on time.
now, we have this letter from the ems coordinator to the mayor before today. what we did not have before today was the 911 call. what we did not have was a sense of what it was like for the people who were waiting for help. >> 911, a big accident over here! >> the city of ft. lee released these calls today in response to open record requests from those looking for information, how the manufactured traffic jam, people were looking for information on how that traffic jam affected emergency services. today, we got 28 hours of information how the emergency responders and police officers struggled with the gridlock over those four days. though we knew it was bad, we didn't know quite how bad it was. nor did we know what the consequences of it were like in realtime.
>> the gw bridge is totally grid locked. if you can come up ft. lee road or something to that effect? >> that's backed up probably all the way back to cliffside. >> we're getting calls from irate motorists. >> the traffic is backed up at the gw. >> you are aware the town is a total gridlock, right? >> the head of emergency services in ft. lee sent his letter to the mayor on september 10th on tuesday, day two of the traffic mess. on thursday, day four, september 12th, the mayor of ft. lee sent this letter to the port authority, specifically to bill baroni, the governor's top appointee at the port authority. he said they were epeernsing tremendous response time delays. he said whatever the port authority was up to, it was, quote, negatively impacting public safety in ft. lee.
he sent it september 12th last year. also during the lane closures, on the first day of closures, bill baroni received this e-mail saying phone call, mayor sokolich -- he knew what was going on. when he appeared before the state legislature to explain what happened on that bridge, he knew one day the world would have e-mails and letters to him, before he knew all that was going to become public but after he had been alerted to exactly what happened on that bridge, he described what happened to ft. lee. >> at all times during the week of the study the port authority police department monitored traffic on the george washington bridge. they were alert for any emergency vehicles in the area and prepared too further alter traffic patterns in the event of an emergency. >> not true. we now have people's voices on those 911 calls proving, again,
that that is not true. and he was not the only chris christie ally advancing that untrue story about how nothing that happened on the bridge that week affected public safety. the head of the police union and close ally of governor chris christie, he defended the lane closures, quote, was there any ambulance delay? no. was there any police service delay? no. yes, actually. there were delays as a result of that fake traffic study, which was some politically motivated vendetta against that town that still hasn't been explained. paul nunziato has apparently reduced his role in that job. he says he hasn't stepped down fully, but he's reduced his role in the job. for his part, bill baroni has reportedly resigned. so we learned something about
this basically still unexplained story. we learned when chris christie's chief of staff briget kelly ordered up those traffic problems in ft. lee, boy, she really got what she wanted. they ordered that up and in many cases it had serious consequences to the people in that town. it may have been a lark to christie staffers and allies, but it was serious to the people involved in those accidents, those four people who waited double the amount of time they should have waited. but the other thing that we learned today was about not so much about what happened on the bridge in the first place but about that coverup. the coverup in the bridge scandal was in part about convincing people that there was really nothing to see here, that it was not just a traffic study, there was an innocuous traffic study, no negative impact here. the people who tried to sell the
cover story knew it was not true. they knew about the public safety problems but they tried to tell this cover story anyway, there were no safety consequences, their actions did not negatively impact public safety, but they did. today we got even more proof that they did. joining us is a statehouse reporter for the "bergen record," john reitmeyer. thank you for being here. >> thank you. >> we know that a traffic jam is not a capital crime. we know people get stuck in traffic for all sorts of innocuous reasons and it's a sort of nuisance of modern life. >> it's new jersey. >> it's new jersey daily life. how does having the actual 911 tapes add to the understanding of what this jam really meant to the people of ft. lee. >> listening to some of these recordings today, it put color on the canvas, it gave us the vibrant details. i remember writing about the traffic, the motor vehicle
accidents, i remember writing about the delayed ambulances, but listening today to the callers over and over and over reporting their car accidents, hearing the chaos and panic, listening to the woman who called two, three, four times to the dispatcher saying "is the ambulance coming, is the ambulance coming?" and you could hear i think in the dispatcher's voice back some of the frustration responding, yeah, they're on their way, they're on their way. you hear this interchange. we knew a lot of this but this sort of brought it home. if there's two things people in north jersey have responded to on this story, one is the utter helplessness in gridlock. not in traffic for the typical new jersey traffic jam, but for this traffic jam. the other thing is the public safety angle and that's the one that i've measured a lot of response from readers is this
idea that we were delaying or somehow hampering on a 9/11 anniversary, somehow hampering public safety efforts. and maybe nothing catastrophic happened as a result and i think we're all happy about that, but, you know, even when you walk down that path of disrupting that in any way, i think that is where some of the serious questions get raised. >> on the public safety issue, i find it striking and unsettling to hear these very blunt assertions from a couple of people who advanced the sort of traffic study cover story that there were no public safety consequences that people were monitoring for that, as if they sort of had a safety net there. if they ever got caught, maybe at least people didn't get seriously hurt. i can't make sense of that except just telling a lie. one more thing about the cover story that wasn't true. how do you take that? >> i think there's two phases.
there's the phase of where they're doing this not thinking that this is going to become a big news story where everybody's going to be reading e-mails, listening to 911 tapes and the evidence is going to become clear. and then i think phase two is once this started, remember this kind of trickled out in september, a little bit in october and then really hit not until after the election in december and then in january with the publication of the e-mails, time for some traffic problems. i think that's an entirely different phase. that's sort of the, okay, we've got this problem now, what do we do with it? i think there's varying degrees of damage control and i think some probably got too far out ahead of, you know, for whatever reason, if they were misled or did it intentionally, they got too far out ahead of it. we wrote early on a debunking of this traffic study theory or at
least by the normal protocol for the port authority. >> that's right. this is from the time they were trying to say stop covering this story and trying to minimize it in order to do that. john reitmeyer, thanks for being here. you have done great reporting on this from the start. >> thanks. >> if russian president vladimir putin wanted to test president obama's limit, he has succeeded. that and a lot more still to come tonight, including a story out of georgia that has republicans really mad unintentionally at ronald reagan. stay with us. we asked people a question, how much money do you think you'll need when you retire? $500,000. maybe half-million. say a million dollars. [ dan ] then we gave each person a ribbon to show how many years that amount might last. ♪ i was trying to like pull it a little further. you know, i was trying to stretch it a little bit more. [ woman ] got me to 70 years old. i'm going to have to rethink this thing.
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in the state of georgia, the republican governor is leading a revolt against the socialist policies of the noted pinko president ronald reagan. according to the governor of georgia, 25 years after the end of the reagan's presidency, reagan's bleeding heart liberal policies are still wreaking havoc on the great republican state of georgia. yes, it's that weird. that story's coming up. my dad has aor afib.brillation, he has the most common kind... ...it's not caused by a heart valve problem. dad, it says your afib puts you at 5 times greater risk of a stroke. that's why i take my warfarin every day.
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well, did you know that just one sheet of bounce outdoor fresh gives you more freshness than two sheets of the leading national store brand? who knew? so, how do you get your bounce? with more freshness in a single sheet. after his usual morning president stuff, president obama today had a full schedule of things he needed to show up for in the afternoon, places he had to make speeches. at 3:45 he hosted the first-ever student film festival at the white house. the president made remarks there. about an hour later president obama was due to speak at the annual winter meeting of the democratic party, the democratic national committee. he was speaking at another closed door democratic party fund-raiser. he had a lot of stuff lined up late in the day on his schedule today, which we all knew as soon as we woke up because it was on the official presidential daily
schedule. what was not on the official schedule today was his unexpected appearance at the podium in the white house briefing room this afternoon whereupon he talked about ukraine. and no, it's not the cold war anymore, but anytime a u.s. president steps up to tell russia to back off the way the president did today, you can feel a little bit of a chilled wind in the air. >> the ukrainian people deserve the opportunity to determine their own future. we are now deeply concerned by reports of military movements taken by the russian federation inside of ukraine. russia has an historic relationship with ukraine, including cultural and economic ties. any violation of ukraine's sovereignty and integrity would be deeply destabilizing, which is not in the interest of
ukraine, russia or europe. it would represent a profound interruption. it would be a clear violation of russia's commitment to respect the independence and sovereignty and borders of ukraine and of international laws. and just days after the world came to russia for the olympic games, it would invite the condemnation of nations around the world. and indeed the united states will stand with the international community in affirming that there will be costs for any military intervention in ukraine. >> there will be costs. president obama not pledging today to go it alone in a fight against russia over ukraine, but saying russia will effectively be crossing an international red line if they move militarily into another sovereign country. it kind of looks like russia is moving militarily into another sovereign country. crimea is a very pro-russian part of ukraine but still, it's ukraine.
in crimea today armed men in camouflage uniforms with no insignia on them took up positions at airports in crimea. they refused to say who they were. it started with about 50 men. by late afternoon they were setting up roadblocks and check points near two airports in that region. locals on the ground started filming and posting videos like this one, which is not an outtake from "red dawn." this is from youtube from the region reportedly showing russian helicopters flying at low levels into ukrainian airspace. a newspaper reported five planes landed at a russian airstrip today. russia does have a military presence in that part of the world anyway. they have a major naval days in crimea. so there is russian traffic in that area, even in normal times.
but these are clearly not normal times. joining us is the director of the arms control initiative. thanks for being with us tonight. >> thanks for having me. the show of force of russian military and paramilitary forces in the crimea region, does this represent a violation of ukraine sovereignty? >> yes. and back in 1994 in a trilateral agreement with the united states, ukraine, russia and britain, all four countries in the memorandum basically confirmed their support for ukraine's independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity. as you said, there are russian forces in crimea, but you are now getting reports that additional forces are coming in from outside and they're now doing things that are not associated just with the russian presence at their base, such as setting up roadblocks across the countryside. >> from the russian perspective,
crawling inside the mind of president putin, what are russia's realistic options here? what do you think they're most likely to do? >> i think this goes back to when viktor yanukovych fled the country and a new government came in, i think there's been a decision taken in moscow to look at ways to destabilize that government. they had various tools, one of which is trying to introduce separatist tensions in crimea. they're playing i think a very dangerous game here. >> could we be looking at armed conflict between ukrainian forces and armed russian forces inside ukraine? >> so far ukraine has been extremely restrained. there have been no reports, that i have seen of ukrainian military movements moving forward. they have military bases in
crimea in proximity but there's no evidence to suggest that the units moved out to challenge any check points. again, when you have these sorts of things going on and it's almost like the russians are trying to provoke certainly and when that doesn't work, they ratchet it up a bit. it looks like they're almost trying to provoke a fight. >> when we found out this week that president putin had ordered a new large scale ground exercise in western russia, so fairly close to ukraine, had previously not been announced, that rang bells for me about the war in 2008 there. should we see parallels between that previous conflict and what's happening now? >> well, i think it's becoming increasingly hard not to see those parallels. the exercise you referred to was prenotified by the russians as per various requirements, but still, it's a spectacularly bad idea given the current situation in ukraine too go forward with that exercise.
now, my own guess is that the russians are playing some games in crimea. i don't think that exercise is going to be a pretext for a larger invasion of ukraine. and the russians know this. when the ukrainian military would fight and there are nationalists in western ukraine who i think would be prepared to go and become guerrillas in an extended conflict. it could get very messy. the russians seem to treat them like a case. it's an area where -- it's actually the only area in ukraine where ethnic russians are the majority of the population. >> steven pifer, from the brookings institution, it was really helpful to talk to you. thank you for setting me straight on the military exercise. thank you for being here. appreciate it. >> thank you. >> much more to come tonight. including an important note about something that is about to happen on this show in the next few days that you might have heard about today but you can hear it from the horse's mouth. that's still to come. stay with us.
>> we expect other nations to respect ukraine's sovereignty and avoid provocative actions. >> every country should respect the territoryial integrity here, the sovereignty of ewe rain. russia has said it will do that and we think it's important that russia keeps its word. >> there will be costs for any military intervention in ukraine. [ girl ] seriously? that's a lot of music. seriously. that's insane. and it's 15 bucks a month for the family. seriously? that's a lot of gold rope. seriously, that's a signature look. you don't have a signature look, honey. ♪ that's a signature look. [ male announcer ] only at&t brings you beats music. unlimited downloads for up to 5 accounts and 10 devices all for $14.99 a month. ♪ i'm saving a ton of time by posting them to my wall. oh, i like that one. it's so quick! it's just like my car insurance.
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this is democratic congressman jim mcdermott of washington. first elected in 1989, he's a member of the progressive caucus. he was a leading voice on health care. this was before obamacare, it was when the clinton administration was trying to reform health care. in april 1993, he had a big meeting scheduled at the white house with then first lady hillary clinton. the goal was to get congressman mcdermott on board with the clinton administration's approach to health reform as they tried to get it passed through congress. the day before that meeting, hillary clinton's staff, we now know, sent her this memo prepping her for that meeting with congressman mcdermott, quote, we need to keep him happy and on our side. quote, as staged and presumptuous as that is, you might suggest you throw out all the staff at the end of the
meeting to have a private meeting with him. this will signal to him your closeness with him. it's like reading the stage directions on "house of cards" or west wing," less murders. the efforts by the clinton white house to woo certain members of congress are kind of fascinating to read about in this gritty level of detail. these details are spelled out in documents released today. over the next few weeks, 33,000 pages of internal documents from the clinton white house are going to be made public. who knows if it's going to be like seen here or anything substantive that we didn't know already about the clinton years. so far most of what's been released seems like mostly color. but gaining access to these sorts of documents, internal administration deliberation, honestly, it's gold for trying to understand unexplained questions in modern history. it's almost always internal documents, things prepared
without an eye of ever being released to the public, internal documents that solve the mysteries, that can tell us why certain decisions were made, what the thinking was, the strategy, the motivation, always the documents the public cannot see until years later that end up shedding the most light on the biggest unanswered questions. and so with that in mind, i have a very important programming note. this is something we have been working on basically forever. feels that way at least. it ended up being something i'm really, really proud of. please set your dvrs for next thursday night, march 6th, we're going to premiere a brand new msnbc documentary that's called "why we did it." i'm going to have more for you about it next week. in case you have not seen yet, here's a quick little tease we put together. >> the iraq war was presented to us to stop saddam hussein from getting weapons of mass destruction. >> we didn't enter iraq to get access to the sand.
>> what was the reason that spurred the u.s. government to invade iraq? newly obtained documents and insight from key players provide for the first time an answer to the question of why we did it. "why we did it," hosted by rachel maddow, thursday at 9:00. >> i didn't want you to hear it from somebody else. i wanted you to hear it from me. that is next thursday night. i think this is probably the most controversial and maybe the most important thing that i have been part of since i have been here. i'm really excited about this documentary. i wanted to let you know it's coming. thursday night, 9:00 p.m. programming note over. we'll be right back.
it's called the emergency medical treatment and labor act. congress passed it and president reagan signed it because of increasing reports and increasing concern around the country about hospitals dumping patients. people turning up at hospitals with treatable injuries or illnesses, women turning up at the hospital in labor, but hospitals are turning away those patients rather than treating them. unless they could prove they could pay for their care. or prove that they had insurance that could pay for their care. patient dumping they called it, and it was a growing and fatal problem in the united states, which congress and the reagan administration decided they were going to address in 1986. the emergency medical treatment and labor act required hospitals to do two things. if they received any federal funding at all, from taking medicare patients or anything else. they had to do two things under this law. if somebody turns up at the hospital emergency room, the hospital must medically screen that person to see if they are, in fact, having a medical emergency.
if so, the hospital must stabilize that person and their medical emergency before discharging them or transferring them somewhere else. so in other words, if you're in the middle of giving birth, the hospital can't throw you out even if you can't pay. if your heart has stopped, there's no sending your family out to the atm or running a credit card check before they agree to do cpr and make you stable. hospital emergency rooms have to treat people who are having medical emergencies no matter who they are and regardless of whether or not those patients can pay for the care. it was a humane thing to do, that law. and it's also an expensive thing for hospitals. the federal government does give them some help to help them cover the costs and states have various ways to help hospitals cover those costs, but in a lot of cases, the hospitals just end up eating those costs. maybe that's fine in the long run, particularly if your hospitals have a fat margin.
but if that's not the case, if you're a hospital in a poor area and not many of your patients have insurance at all, and so everyone who turns up for care is a, waiting for a medical emergency to arise before they try to get care and b, totally unable to pay for that care in any way but you the hospital are obliged to provide it, eventually that's going to catch up with to the you and your hospital is going to go break. in rural georgia, eight hospitals have closed since the year 2,000 and half of them have closed just in the past two years. the latest to close was just this month in the southeast part of georgia. a place called glenwood in wheeler county, georgia. wheeler county georgia has 23% of its population without health insurance. that's, like, texas level terrible. the number of kids living in low the poverty level is 41%. hope you can hol for the 30-mile ride to the next facility.
because the local one is gone now. this is a really big problem for georgia. you can't lose eight hospitals and have it not affect your state overall. the organization of rural hospitals in georgia says if georgia doesn't figure out how to stop what's going on, how to keep its hospitals open, that state is going to create, a, quote, third world nation health situation in rural parts of the state. now, one way to fix this problem, of course, is to get the poor people who live in rural parts of that state to have health insurance. so then they could go to the doctor before things became an emergency and when they did go to the doctor, the doctor and the hospital would be paid for the treatment. radical idea, i know, this whole health insurance thing. the federal government told georgia it will pick up 100% of the cost to get health insurance to 600,000 people in the state who are uninsured. the federal government will pay for 100% of the cost for three years and 90% of the costs thereafter.
and even though georgia hospitals are fighting for their lives as they struggle to reach that poor rural population, even as that's happening they lost eight hospitals, georgia republicans have said no. they said no to covering 600,000 more people to the state at no cost to the state. they said no to that deal. the governor of georgia's name is deal. it's nathan deal. and now the governor of nathan deal of georgia has proposed a new solution to georgia's vexing problems of all its hospitals shutting down. if the rural hospitals are shutting down because they have to treat people at the emergency room, but none of these uninsured patients can pay for the treatment, if that is the crux of the problem, rather than turning those uninsured patients into people who can pay by giving them insurance, governor deal has decided, let's fix the other side of this problem. let's fix the ronald reagan side
of this problem. let's repeal the requirement that hospitals have to treat people. that's his big idea. that would do it. georgia governor nathan deal has now proposed this. he's turning down the option that would get 600,000 more people in his state to have health insurance. he's turning that down and instead is proposing that the solution to georgia's problems is for the federal government to repeal the reagan-era law that says if you turn up at the hospital while you are in labor or while you are having a heart attack, that the hospital has to treat you. that's a federal law. he's asking federal officials to move to repeal it because that would be good for georgia. the governor said revisiting that specific law is what congress should do, quote, if they really want to get serious about lowering the cost of health care in this country. when the paper in noonan, georgia, a paper called "the noonan times herald" when they published governor deal's proposal on that issue this week, when they said what the governor wants to do is get red
of the rule that says emergency rooms have to treat sick people, the first comment on that article was this. why yes, that is a way to cut medical spending. let the poor die. and on a purely mathematical basis is it's right. and the governor is right. if you turn women in labor and people having heart attacks away at the hospital door, hospital costs will go down. the logic is inarguable. and that inarguable logic is now the georgia republican plan for health care in that state. as they lose hospital after hospital after hospital after hospital. their new plan is that emergency rooms should turn people away. and you know what, that plan will totally work, if we can all just agree from here own out, and we have to agree that nobody in georgia from here on out is allowed to have a heart attack or break a leg or need to ever deliver a baby as long as you're in georgia unless you can pay out of pocket for the costs. and good people of georgia, if you keep up that end of the bargain then boy does governor nathan deal have a deal for you.
deal versus reagan. that does it for us tonight. thanks for being with us tonight. we've got more on our exclusive from the rio grande valley coming up early next week on the show. we will see you again on monday. weekends with alex witt starts now. a warning. president obama tells russia to stay out of ukraine or else. the big question, who could the u.s. do. >> 911 where is your emergency. >> tale of the tape. 911 calls from the four days of gorge washington bridge gridlocks. who do they have on the investigation of chris christie? a frantic rescue caught on tape after an avalanche roars through a neighborhood. why it's incredible anyone came out alive. what the tax bill will be for the couple that found precious coins in their back yord.